The NFL draft annually features a number of interesting trades, but Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took things to a different level during Thursday night’s first round. By making an intradivisional deal with the Philadelphia Eagles (typically a big no-no), he ended up screwing longtime Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and the New York Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys traded the No. 10 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles
Heading into the 2021 NFL draft, the general consensus was that the Dallas Cowboys would use their No. 10 pick to select one of the two top cornerbacks in the draft, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. But Jones and Co. then watched as the Carolina Panthers took Horn at No. 8. One pick later, the Denver Broncos nabbed Surtain.
And it was at this point that things went off the rails.
Soon after the Broncos selected Surtain, the Cowboys traded the No. 10 pick to the Eagles in exchange for the No. 12 pick, as well as Philly’s third-round selection (No. 84 overall). The deal vaulted the Eagles one spot ahead of the Giants, who were set to pick at No. 11.
Jerry Jones screwed Jason Garrett and the New York Giants by agreeing to the trade with the Eagles
Once the trade between the Cowboys and Eagles was announced, it was clear what was coming. Things played out predictably as Philadelphia used the No. 10 pick to select Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, whom the Giants were clearly targeting at No. 11.
Jones used to screw Garrett by not drafting the players he truly needed with the Cowboys. Now, nearly 16 months after their famous divorce, Jones has screwed his former head coach out of a player he desperately needed as the Giants’ offensive coordinator.
Simply put, Garrett’s offense was atrocious in his first season in New York. The Giants ranked 31st in the NFL in total yards per game (299.6) and 29th in passing yards per game (189.1). So getting quarterback Daniel Jones, who’s essentially coming up on a make-or-break season, such a dangerous weapon in Smith obviously would have been beneficial.
But that didn’t happen as the Giants missed out and traded back, allowing the Chicago Bears to draft Justin Fields at No. 11 before they selected Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney at No. 20.
Now, it’s not that Toney isn’t a solid prospect as he had 70 catches for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Gators in 2020. It’s just that he wasn’t seen as one of the top-level receivers on the board. But there’s no guarantee that Smith works out, and perhaps Toney will go on to become a big star in the Big Apple.
That’s the beauty of the draft. You just never know.
The Cowboys were still able to get some defensive help in Micah Parsons
While Jones and the Cowboys may not have gotten either of the top two cornerbacks, it’s not as if they came away empty-handed in the first round. They used the No. 12 pick to select Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, who many saw as the top overall defensive player on the board. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season but recorded 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and five sacks for the Nittany Lions in 2019.
It was just a strange night overall. Many Cowboys fans weren’t happy that Jones essentially handed a player of Smith’s caliber to a division rival, but they certainly didn’t mind that he screwed the Giants. As always, the NFC East continues to entertain.
Stats courtesy of Sports Reference